You Are Beautiful

The darkness will close in. The pain will come. The emptiness, loneliness, and hopelessness will arise. You will be engulfed, overwhelmed with feelings and emotions. You will question, you will wonder why? You will begin to allow your mind to wander into the abyss. Thoughts of bitterness, hate, and suicide will present themselves. Those around you are in the middle of their own struggles. The struggles of survival, finding hope, and trying to simply make it through another poverty-stricken day on the reservation. You can trust no one. There is no one who understands the intense pain you feel inside. Life is not worth living.

You are beautiful. Young lady, you are beautiful. You are beautiful on the inside and out. I don’t know what you are going through right now, I truly don’t. I have never walked a step in your shoes. I didn’t grow up in poverty. I didn’t grow up not knowing who my father was. I didn’t grow up in an abusive home. I didn’t grow up with adults strung out on drugs. I don’t know. But, I do know, God created you. God created you in His image. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you on the cross. God is in love with you. He is jealous for you. God is a father to the fatherless. God is hope for the hopeless. You are beautiful in God’s eyes. God has a plan for your life. God is light. I know your pain, hurt, and loneliness are intense right now. I know in this moment, you can’t see light. You can’t see through the all-consuming darkness. You don’t feel loved, forgiven, or beautiful. But, you must know that YOU ARE LOVED, FORGIVEN, AND YOUR ARE BEAUTIFUL! Don’t quit. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. The light will break through. The sun will soon shine. A new day will come. Young lady, in your darkest hour, in your weakest moments, lift up your eyes to the King of Glory, grab ahold of His outstretched hand, hold tight, and never let go. You are a daughter of the King. Loved. Cherished. Beautiful in His eyes. God will never let go.

Seasons

I have walked through many seasons in 31 years of life. Seasons of great accomplishment, seasons of great difficulty, seasons of struggle, seasons of loneliness, seasons of anxiety, seasons of frustration, seasons of searching, seasons of questioning, seasons of rebellion, seasons of exploring, and seasons of great joy. Seasons in life come, and seasons in life go. Some seasons are short, others, endure seemingly far too long. What I have learned over the years though, is that each season we walk through in our life, is preparation for the upcoming season. Each season we experience within this life, offers us valuable lessons in order for us to continue to grow, mature, and become the individuals God created us to become. Seasons are opportunities for us to learn, apply, teach, and expand as human beings.

One of the greatest seasons of my life occurred in my early and mid 20’s. I had graduated from college and was living in Sioux Falls, SD at the time. Through God’s working, I had the opportunity to move into a small, one bedroom house in a lower-income part of the city. Again, through God’s working, He began to open my eyes, ears, and heart to the hurting youth of my community. Many of the children in my neighborhood were Native Americans. I began to learn a great deal about the Native American poverty, plight, and generational struggles during this season of my life. God began opening doors like crazy for myself and others in my church family at the time, to begin reaching out to kids not only in my specific neighborhood, but kids throughout the city of Sioux Falls as well. But this was just the beginning. Doors began opening for us to serve youth in JDC’s and drug rehab facilities. Then, the greatest door for me personally opened. God opened the door for a trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South-West South Dakota, one of the poorest places in the United States. Through the service opportunities in Sioux Falls and Pine Ridge, my heart began to change. God began a work in and on my heart towards youth. I could not get past the fact that my childhood was so good, but in comparison, so many children experience a childhood that should never have to be experienced. I had it so good, but so many have it so bad. My heart began to yearn to help. My heart began to fill with love and compassion toward the hurting youth I was encountering and serving. A fire began to be kindled deep within my soul. God was awakening me to my purpose for existence. A purpose that was not about me, but about the next generation. Throughout this powerful season in my early and mid 20’s, I learned a lot. Many invaluable life lessons. I learned so much about myself. I learned so much about others, specifically children, even more specific, the Lakota children of South Dakota. The greatest lesson of all from this season, was the lesson of what this life is all about. God has taught me that this life isn’t about me. This life isn’t about me getting mine. This life isn’t for my glory, fame, or recognition. But, this life is first of all, about Jesus. The Son of God. Secondly, this life is about serving others. When we realize the great power in serving others, the great joy in serving others, and the great impact we can make within this world through serving others, then we realize why we are alive. Through the service to others, we become alive. We step into the purpose for our existence. We step into the reason for our being. Jesus Himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. We were created in the image of God, we were created to serve one another. God is good. Be open to what God wants to teach you in this season and in the seasons to come. Be open to humility. Be open to the uncomfortable. Be open to the new. Be open to being transformed, changed, and becoming a different person. God loves you. God is interested in you. God has a plan for your life. BUT, YOU have to be willing to submit to His plan. Open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart. God is working, God is moving, God is always willing, God never fails.

The Inner Struggle

I struggle. I struggle a lot. I struggle everyday. It is an inner struggle. An inner battle. I know you struggle. I know you struggle a lot. I know you struggle everyday. The inner struggle. The inner battle. No one is exempt from the struggle.

I have nothing to hide. I know who I am. I know what I am. I know my passion. My purpose. I know why I am alive today. I know my strengths. I know my weakness’. I know where I need to improve. I know my shortcomings. I know my failures. I know where I have missed the mark. I know that I and you, are imperfect, works of art in progress. Knowing all of this, allows me to know, you need to hear what I am saying. WE ALL STRUGGLE. WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH AN INNER STRUGGLE TODAY. Each one of us have thousands of thoughts racing through our minds. Each day. Every day. Positive, negative, and indifferent thoughts. They attack us constantly. The thoughts are relentless. All of us struggle on some level controlling our thoughts. The most confident individuals on earth, struggle controlling their thoughts. The wealthiest individuals on earth, struggle controlling their thoughts. The greatest athletes in the world, struggle controlling their thoughts. All of us have insecurities. All of us have had life experiences that have caused us some kind of trauma. All of us have been embarrassed. Made fun of. Laughed at. At times, ridiculed. All of us struggle on some level with wondering what others think about us. All of us struggle on some level with comparing ourselves to others. All of us have jealousies. All of us have annoyances. All of us have prejudices. All of us have body image issues. Some of us have eating disorders. Some of us have severe addictions. All of us have, a lot of issues. With all of our issues, come thousands and thousands of thoughts. Thoughts that can control us. Thoughts that can create fear, anxiety, nervousness, and a host of other debilitating factors. Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts dictate our perception and reality. Our perception and reality of our surroundings, as well as ourselves. Thoughts create an inner struggle. The inner battle. Thoughts become reality. As a man or woman thinks, so they become. As a man or woman thinks, so those around them become.

I want you to know, wherever you are today in your life journey, whatever you are struggling with in this moment, whatever internal battle you are fighting in this moment, as you read this, please hear me, please understand, please grasp, please accept the fact, that you are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are in progress. An artwork, a masterful, beautiful piece of art, in progress. You have gifts. You have talents. You have abilities. You have capabilities. You have opportunities that you have been given to you. You have a Creator that created you to love and to be loved. The struggle is intense. I know. The battle can be overwhelming. I know. The fears, the anxieties, the yearnings for things to be different can be nearly unbearable at times. I know. I’ve been there. I am there. I will continue to be here, in the struggle, in the battle, just as you are. We struggle together. We battle together. Your struggles may be different from mine, your battles may look different then mine, but you struggle, I struggle, we all struggle, we all battle from within. Lift up your eyes. Look around. See the beauty. The beauty within the struggle. The beauty within the battle. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU WILL OVERCOME.

Valentines Day

Not having a significant other on Valentine’s Day sucks.  The older I get, the more it sucks.  I am not stating this to get attention.  I am not stating this to get sympathy.  I am stating this because I know there are a lot of people out there who can relate.  I am always happy for others who are happy.  When I have the opportunity to see people who are loving life, it puts a smile on my face.  When I see couples holding hands, showing each other affection, my heart smiles.  But the reality for me, and I know the reality for a lot of others out there, is the fact that life can be very lonely.  Even when we are surrounded by others, even when we have deep, connected fellowship with other humans, such as friends, family, co-workers etc., the truth is, there is nothing that can replace the fulfillment, love, joy, and security of a significant other.  There is nothing more beautiful then loving and being loved, deeply, intimately, and securely by a significant other.  If you find yourself alone today in the midst of those you are surrounded by, if you find yourself yearning for the beauty of a life shared with a significant other, if you find yourself frustrated today, let me encourage you with this…….Life unfolds as life unfolds.  Use this season of life you are in right now to refine yourself, improve yourself, and prepare yourself for the time when your significant other appears.  Be the best version of yourself today, tomorrow, and in all the days to come.  Continue to be a leader.  An example.  Someone to follow.  Continue to serve.  Continue to learn.  Continue to love.  Continue to be someone that someone else would want to be with.  No matter what you are feeling today, no matter how overwhelming your emotions may be today, today is a gift, today is an opportunity, and today is beautiful.  Open your heart, and allow your light to shine.

You Never Know…….

You never know the impact you may have on the life of a child. A rightly spoken word or a timely action, could literally, alter a child’s life. As we shift from adolescent to adult, as the years go by, most of us tend to lose the innocence, the beauty, and the purity of childhood. We tend to lose sight of the most important things, the most valuable things in life. A lot of us, lose sight of reality, the older we get. We forget childhood. We forget innocence. We forget the beauty. We forget the purity, of youth. We forget the dreams of yesteryear. We become negative, hurried, busied, stressed, and frustrated adults. People who live life going through the motions, because that’s what we “have” to do. Take a step back with me. Take a look back with me. Remember. Reflect. Step back to your younger years. Look back to who you were. Remember the excitement, the anticipation, the joy, of a life as a child. Reflect on your childhood dreams. So innocent. So beautiful. So pure. AMAZING. You are still that child. The innocence, beauty, and purity still exist, no matter what you have gone through, no matter how hurt you have been, no matter what you have suffered. You are still a child. There is still excitement. Still anticipation. There is still joy deep within your soul. Your dreams are still available. Attainable. You never know, until you try. You never know, until you take that step of faith. You never know, who you could be. You never know, how much you matter to the children around you. YOU MATTER. God has bestowed gifts, talents, and abilities to you. You are loved! The kids, the youth, the children in your life, they want you. They need you. They are starving for your love, affection, and attention. YOU MATTER. THEY MATTER. Let love flow. Let kindness flow. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Accessible. Real. Allow yourself to dream, once again. Allow yourself to feel, once again. Allow yourself to matter, once again. Allow yourself to be a child, once again. Extend your hand to the hurting. The hurting child, children, in your life. Be a servant. A servant to the least of these. Boldly. Relentlessly. Fearlessly. Allow your life to be transformed by a child. Allow your life to transform a child. Be strong. Be open. Be an example. Be someone to follow. Today, tomorrow, and until you have breathed your last. Live life fully. Live life for the children. For the next generation. Be the reason. The reason a child has hope for a brighter tomorrow. You never know…….

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Inside

This is what is inside of me right now.  Deep within.  Deep within my soul, my spirit, my inner man.  It’s brewing.  It’s burning.  It’s been brewing.  It’s been burning.  I can’t ignore it.  I don’t want to ignore it.  I know it is who I am.  I know it is what I am.  I know this is how I am to live my life.  I know this is the path I am to take.  I have to wait patiently.  I have to wait for the right time.  I have to allow life to unfold.  The burning inside of me is to live as lowly, simply, and minimally as possible.  To physically train as a man possessed.  And finally, to help in whatever capacity possible, hurting, Fatherless youth.  This is it.  This is what is inside of me.  The fire burning so intensely.